Friday, November 12, 2010

Getting Around In France

When you live in a country where a majority of the roads were built by the Romans for their horses and chariots, you are not going to find very many wide streets for big cars. Also with the cost of gasoline at around $8 a gallon you are going to find lots of alternatives to the traditional mode of transportation.

Here are just a few. Motorcyles and motorscooters are everywhere. They can get around in heavy traffic and can park just about anywhere, plus the mileage is good.

Next you have the Smart car which holds just two people, parks easily and gets good mileage. I personally think they are cute. Quite a few folks in Lincoln drive them.

The most interesting way of traveling is the rent-a-bicycle. That's a row of them in front of the red-awninged restaurant in Paris. You choose a bike, put the number and a payment method in the machine and ride off. You can return the bike anywhere there are rent-a bike stands. We saw a lot of these bikes, particularly among students. It's easier than carrying your personal bike up six flights of stairs (elevators are in short supply in France) to make sure it's not stolen.

And the final mode of transportation is the "choo choo" (the guides words not mine) train that takes you up a very steep, narrow road to a church on top of the hill overlooking the town of Vienne. The train has rubber tires and can easily wind its way through the narrow, cobblestoned streets of this Roman town.

And of course you have the TGV, France's fast train, subways, river barges, river cruise boats and many more. I did see one Toyota Landcruiser. It looked very out of place.
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